A judge in New York has put the kibosh on the Bloomberg administration's attempt to ban the sale of super-sized sugary drinks at certain outlets and restaurants, one day before the prohibition was to go into effect. The soda ban was approved by New York City's Health Department a year ago, which argued that the action was necessary to lower the city's 58 percent obesity rate.
But the move was met with fierce opposition from industry groups as well as some peeved consumers, saying that people have the right to choose what they want to buy or eat. One thing’s for sure, the issue isn't going away anytime soon. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which spearheaded the soda ban, cited statistics suggesting that 70,000 people across the nation and 5,000 in New York City die from obesity every year.
Is legislation the best way to help people make informed choices about their health? If not, is price control a better way? Is putting a graphic advisory, a la cigarette packages in countries like Canada or England, the way to go? What's the most effective way to help consumers make the decision to kick certain bad habits themselves?
Dr. Peter Ubel, physician and behavioral scientist who specializes in healthy policy and economics; Professor of Business Administration and Medicine & Professor of Public Policy, Duke University